In the introduction to his new book, Sam Sifton lays it out: "Thanksgiving is not easy." Sifton knows whereof he speaks; he's now the national editor of The New York Times, but before he took on that solemn responsibility, he was the newspaper's restaurant critic and a food columnist for its Sunday Magazine.
Sifton cites Thanksgiving stresses like drunk uncles, tense travel, itsy-bitsy ovens, family feuds and, of course, the dinner itself. But he offers to help with that last bit. He's written an entire book on Thanksgiving dinner — not a thick book, but a thorough one — intended to get you through the last crumb of pumpkin pie.
It's called Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well, and here's one of Sifton's central pieces of advice: Forget innovation. Be conservative. "There should be no swordfish at Thanksgiving," he tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer. "There should be no beef tenderloin at Thanksgiving. Ham is an abomination at Thanksgiving. There should be a turkey. Turkey is why you are here."
CONTINUE READING OR LISTEN TO THE SHOW...Talking Turkey (and Pie)